What’s the news? AT&T is America’s public safety communications partner. In the nearly 5 years since we were selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to build and operate FirstNet, we have moved quickly to bring more coverage, boost capacity and drive new capabilities for Rhode Island first responders and the communities they serve – rural and urban.
Today, we cover the entire state with FirstNet, Built with AT&T – helping to connect public safety agencies and organizations in more than 30 communities across Rhode Island. That’s why we’re focused on increasing network capacity for Rhode Island public safety by deploying Band 14 spectrum – nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the federal government specifically for FirstNet.
To further expand coverage, from 2019 to 2021 AT&T invested more than $60 million in its wireless network in Rhode Island, adding new cell towers to enhance 4G LTE coverage and also bringing Band 14 spectrum to more areas.
Additionally, Rhode Island was the first state in the nation to receive FirstNet compact rapid deployables (CRDs), which were delivered in August 2021 to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. As trailer-mounted mobile units, CRDs provide FirstNet cellular and Wi-Fi coverage via satellite connectivity to first responders wherever their mission takes them.
Why is this important? No connection is more important than one that could help save a life. Today, FirstNet is solving for common and long-standing communications challenges that first responders face – things like interoperability, network congestion and commercial network providers slowing public safety’s data connection. It’s giving them superior coverage for day-to-day response and life-saving missions. While commercial wireless offerings remain available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings. FirstNet comes with unique features, functionality and dedicated spectrum when needed for the public safety community. That’s why public safety fought for their own, separate, dedicated platform, championing the vision that led to the creation of FirstNet.
How does this help bridge the digital divide? The FirstNet network expansion is one way we are helping ensure all of public safety – and the communities they serve – have access to critical connectivity to help meet the urgent challenges of today and tomorrow. We already cover more than 99% of the U.S. population today, but FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural.
And with FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s why the build is being done with direct feedback from public safety and local stakeholders. This feedback has been instrumental in deploying Band 14 spectrum across Rhode Island. And it’s helped to recently launch new purpose-built FirstNet sites in towns like Tiverton, Burrillville and Smithfield. These communities are currently benefitting from this new infrastructure, which will help improve the overall coverage and network capacity experience for public safety on FirstNet and AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
What is FirstNet? FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. With more than 19,500 agencies and organizations – accounting for more than 3 million connections nationwide1 – the FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, law enforcement and more save lives and protect their communities.
Where can I find more information? For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com. And go here for more FirstNet news.
What people are saying:
President – AT&T Northern Region
“Rhode Island’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them provide safety and security to Ocean Staters. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting. We have a responsibility unlike any other network provider and couldn’t be prouder to support the public safety mission by bringing Rhode Island first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need.”
Acting CEO, FirstNet Authority
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. We worked hand-in-hand with the Rhode Island public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this new infrastructure is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Rhode Island first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect our communities.”
Learn more about how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and sign up for our discipline newsletters. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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